COMPTON — Mayor Aja Brown surprised many people when she announced she wouldn’t seek a third term to serve as mayor in the city’s municipal election next month.
Brown has formally announced her candidate of choice, Christian Reynaga, whom she describes as someone she has mentored for the last eight years.
“Thank you, Mayor Brown, for your endorsement and prayers,” Reynaga said.
Brown described Reynaga as being a dynamic young leader and a participant in My Brother’s Keeper.
“I’ve personally mentored Christian for eight years and I’ve had the honor to watch him grow. God has great things in store for him now and in the future,” said Brown in a statement. “While he may be a young man, he is rich in wisdom, and clearly understands a simple key to life — love God and love people. His life demonstrates his love, wisdom, knowledge and understanding, which radiates undeniably to anyone that encounters him.”
Brown took to social media implying that a band of misfits are seeking to replace her.
She implores residents to “do their homework” and “hold the candidates to the same standards you would hold me to.”
She proceeded to call out disparaging things about the other candidates seeking office without mentioning their names.
“We have candidates who have been convicted of financial crimes, fraud, forgery and isn’t being transparent with the residents,” Brown said. “This same person is also claiming to be a scientist.”
Brown’s description fit the candidate profile of James Hayes, who was the victim of a smear campaign before the nomination period open for the election cycle.
Residents awoke to envelopes on their doorsteps, with no return address, with photocopies of articles written about Hayes that appeared in a local newspaper.
“We have people convicted of dealing drugs and domestic violence,” Brown said. “Be honest with the residents.”
Candidate Rodney Lister explained he has never been convicted of domestic violence, but was a victim.
“Have I been convicted of any crime, no. Has anyone ever asked me if I have been arrested?” asked Lister. “So, I am to tell people ‘I was a victim of domestic violence’ does it make me a bad person?”
Brown said she would be building a website that would detail information for the residents to peruse.
Brown admits that people aren’t defined by their past and it’s about having “integrity” which is of the utmost importance to her which caused residents to have mixed views on who she is endorsing.
“This is not about the Compton election or coming out of a $115 million deficit, this is about Compton having the first Latino mayor with no experience,” said Joi Segma. “Aja Brown where was/is your integrity for the years you spent in office accusing the city’s senior citizens of being the problem? Was that integrity?”
Other residents thanked her for “opening their eyes” to the candidate not only for mayor, but council seats, too.
“Thank you Mayor Aja Brown I really appreciate the information,” said Estela Gonzalez.
In the eight years that Brown has served as mayor, she has been instrumental in gaining one seat on the council with the election of Michelle Chambers.
Candidates seeking the mayor’s seat are: Councilwoman Emma Sharif, James Hayes, Anthony Perry, Mike Willie, Lamar Willis, Amy Jimenez, Janet Ortega, Rodney Lister, Elias Acevedo and Reynaga.
The city is holding a vote-by-mail election with ballots hitting resident’s mailboxes this week. The last day to mail your ballot is April 20.
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.